As a publicist, I like to pay attention to how other brands, organizations and causes promote themselves and raise awareness. One recent campaign piqued my interest: Keep a Child Alive’s Digital Death initiative.
On December 1, World AIDS Day, several popular celebrities (Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Ryan Seacrest among them) declared themselves “Digitally Dead” – meaning no Facebook, no Twitter, no blogging – no digital communication of any sort for the participating celebs. In order to “bring them back to life”, fans were encouraged to text their support and a donation to a special phone number. When the donations reached $1 million, the celebs would be allowed to resume their regularly scheduled social media use (which for some of them, like Kardashian, is incredibly lucrative, but that’s another blog entry for another time).
Today, December 6, Keep a Child Alive reached their goal, which is wonderful by any definition. However, the campaign has gotten tongues wagging in the press, decrying how LONG it took for supporters to raise $1 million.
Does this make the Digital Death campaign successful or not? Obviously, the end goal was achieved – a worthy organization received a chunk of cash, which is always nice. However, I think some of the celebs and organizers thought that the world simply couldn’t live without star-powered Tweets for more than a few moments and that they would achieve their monetary goal far more quickly than they did, which has been cause for discussion in the press. However, regardless of how “long” it took (5 days really isn’t that long to raise a cool million), the organization got its donation and the whole project got a LOT of attention.
And as the old adage goes, isn’t all press good press? In a PR agency, that’s something to think about.